Gallery: Spacesuits Are Amazing Human-Protection Machines

NASA astronaut Greg Chamitoff during a 2011 spacewalk on the International Space Station. Reflected in his visor is NASA crewmate Mike Fincke. Both astronauts were mission specialists aboard shuttle mission STS-134. Credit: NASA

NASA astronaut Greg Chamitoff during a 2011 spacewalk on the International Space Station. Reflected in his visor is NASA crewmate Mike Fincke. Both astronauts were mission specialists aboard shuttle mission STS-134. Credit: NASA

Did you know it’s been nearly 50 years since the first spacewalk? On March 18, 1965, Russian Alexei Leonov ventured from the safety of his Russian spacecraft for the first attempt for a person to survive “outside” in a spacesuit. While Leonov had troubles returning to the spacecraft, his brave effort set off a new era of spaceflight. It showed us it was possible for people to work in small spacesuits in space.

Think about what spacewalks have helped us accomplish since then. We’ve walked on the Moon. Constructed the International Space Station. Retrieved satellites. Even flew away from the space shuttle in a jetpack, for a couple of flights in the 1980s.

In this gallery, we’ve highlighted some of the more memorable images from American spacewalks over the years in this gallery, to honor a new Smithsonian Air and Space exhibit opening today (Jan. 8).

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© Elizabeth Howell for Universe Today, 2015. |
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